Destination Weddings in Italy

I’ve been working with a fantastic couple getting married in an exotic location in Italy this September and while it’s been a great experience it’s also been an educational one.  We had an exciting 7 day trip touring various cities within Tuscany looking for the perfect location for three wedding events and we found them.  This post however, isn’t about that experience, it’s about what I’ve learned about planning destination weddings in Italy.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t hesitation to plan another wedding there, however, I would approach the entire process in a much less urgent fashion.  By this I mean I would not set short-term goals early in the planning.  Booking most venues and vendors should be  left to the last few weeks before an event, not months.

I guess there are good reasons for this; life is a little slower paced and consequently less stressful in a lot of the smaller cities.  Granted Rome, Milan and Florence are similar to most large US cities, however the smaller historic cities and villages seem to adopt a more relaxed approach which has been a little frustrating for me.

For instance, I’ve been trying to contact a restaurant which is the perfect venue for my couple’s “welcome to Italy dinner” for over 6 months and all I receive is silence – I’ve confirmed they’re still in business and they do large private groups, however I also confirmed they close down for weeks at a time on “holiday” fairly regularly.  I also confirmed that booking an event several months out is unheard of.  Instead, they prefer 30 days notice.

My initial panic with this policy is what if someone else books the place first but then again, if I can’t book my event neither can anybody else.  Okay now I’m starting to get it.

The other learning curve involves cultural customs in Italy vs US.  For instance, we want to offer our guests entree options and thought family style would be a great way to do this.  New lesson learned, family style is considered the lazy mans food service and reserved for only casual family meals, not for formal events such as weddings.  We quickly countered with wanting to offer three entree options served plated style with one option being chicken.  Whoops big faux pax – one never serves chicken at a wedding or formal event as it’s considered low class and cheap.

As I said, planning a wedding in Italy is exciting and very exotic but be ready to conduct business in a slightly different fashion and certainly at a slower pace.  What suggestions do you have for planning a wedding in Italy?

Frattoria San Donato

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